Bichi is the solo side-project of Tobias Wilner, who might be more familiarly known from his work with Blue Foundation, an indie/electronica group who have gained a good amount of mainstream attention recently. Eschewing the friendly rock trappings of that project, Notwithstanding goes the way of full-blown electronica, tripping and snagging its way in the grand tradition of IDM.
Just the way I like it, Bichi plays a melancholic, introspective tune; that special sort of pleasant downer material that captures the chill of lonely, sleepless nights. Notwithstanding is a bit busier than my normal fare, so I don't see it becoming as common as Wisp or Conelrad in my listening schedule, but I can't really say that's a bad thing. The highlight of the album for me is definitely "Whirl a Stream of Comfort to Cool and Surround Me Until I lose Sight of My Own Defeat" for the guest vocals done by the lovely Sara Savery (of People Press Play) and the minimal, laid-back song structure that leaves a bit more room to breathe. Savery's voice is always a treat and hearing her here was a nice surprise.
There is a slight lack of consistent focus to Notwithstanding, however. For instance, the xylophone stuttering of "In the Parallax of Your Gaze Vivid" has a fresh, organic feel to it, but the more saturnine synths that accompany it almost run at odds, like there are two slightly related themes at work in the song, It's not that bad, really, but the poignance of the work is lost a bit in the resulting emotional struggle. There are small instances of this to be found here and there, not enough to truly distract, but enough to be noticed.
This album doesn't push any boundaries, but it's still a jolly good time. I'll be happy to have this around to keep my insomnia company.
Verdict: Win [4/5]